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SCUBA Diving

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Are you for SCUBA?!

Have you ever dreamed of swimming alongside the beautiful, exotic aquatic life in the crystal blue waters of the continental coasts (or anywhere, for that matter)? Dive into your deepest adventurous desires and get SCUBA certified!

Guaranteed to provide the utmost safety and success of your dive training experience, Fitness Formula Clubs and Captain Darrick Lorenzen’s Divemax Scuba Schools, rated Number One SCUBA training agency in the Midwest, organize and guide fundamental dive training during various sessions throughout the year.

All individuals considering enrollment must attend a complimentary orientation*, then complete your basic skills course**.

*Orientation from 6-7:30 pm

  • Halsted Street: Tuesday, Nov. 4
  • Union Station: Wednesday, Nov. 5
  • Lincoln Park: Thursday, Nov. 6
  • Oak Park: Tuesday, Nov. 11

**Basic Skills Course from 7:30 am – 4 pm

  • Union Station: Sunday, Nov. 9
  • Oak Park: Sunday, Nov. 16

For more information, or to confirm your attendance at the free orientation, please contact Captain Darrick at 773-732-8972 or captdarrick@divemaxscuba.com. Special scheduling can be accommodated. Additional fees apply for open water dives and equipment. Non-members welcome!

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Signature Specials

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Treatments so good we put our Signature on them*!

  • Signature Facial – For all skin types. Includes “magic globes” massage & back treatment (80 Mins)
  • Signature Massage – Customized restorative massage with aromatherapy. Perfect for athletes & those seeking healing therapy (75 Mins)
  • Vitality Treatment – Detoxifying, warming and exfoliating. Excellent for sore muscles & tired joints (90 Mins)

*This month save 10% on any of these FFC exclusives. These offers may not be combined with other discounts, packages or specials. Offer Expires 10/31/14.

 

ATTENTION ATHLETES!

Ask your spa provider or customer service specialist about special discounts for pre-race preparation and post-race recovery, including:

  • Bring in your valid 2014 race bib or registration and receive massage discounts including: $5 off a 30 minute, $10 off 60 minute and $15 off 90 minute.

 

Massage Therapy & Skin Care are essential components to your body’s overall well-being. Join us in celebrating Spa Wellness week by taking advantage of one, or all, of these special offers*:

October 19 – 24

Sunday         $10 off 90-Minute Massage
Monday        30-Minute Massage or Facial for $40
Tuesday        60-Minute Massage or Facial for $68
Wednesday  20% Off All Waxing
Thursday      20-Minute Massage Tune-Up for $30
Friday           Glow Facial Treatment for $88

*These offers may not be combined with other discounts, packages or specials

Game?  What game?

I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out why football was named as such when hardly anyone’s feet ever intentionally touch the ball, but that’s a different blog post.

Disclaimer: Now would be a good time to bow out of this if you just can’t survive without the NFL!

Strange as it may seem, there are actual, real people who couldn’t care less about watching a football game on a Sunday. Or on any day for that matter. For a moment let’s pretend that I’m one of those people, or that you’re one of those people, or perhaps you’re one of those people who knows other people who would rather be doing just about anything else but watch the “big game.” What on Earth would we do with our four hours if not plant ourselves on the sofa yelling “Did we forget how to tackle?” or “Come on Cutler!” or “Where’s the Defense?!” or “This is an embarrassment!!”

Just for good measure (not that you’d ever let it slip amongst a herd of Bears fans) here’s a few ideas:

Get your grocery shopping on. Once game-time begins, your favorite Mariano’s store may have been wiped clean of Doritos and PBR, but the aisles will be devoid of people. So grab a glass of wine and enjoy a lineless, hassle free dance around the produce or International Foods sections. If the weather’s right, skip the store and go to Logan Square Farmers Market.

Go to a movie. Grab a friend, or better yet go solo. Indulging in a movie sans company elicits a feeling of liberation hard to describe: No one talking to you, asking you to explain the plot or hogging your popcorn.  This fall, check out one of these sure-fire Oscar contenders:  Gone Girl, Wild, Birdman, Boyhood and Skeleton Twins.

One word: Oktoberfest. The good news is that while there’s only one word to describe it, there will be numerous Oktoberfest events in Chicagoland. Have a pint just for the ale of it. There’s something for all palettes:  pumpkin, harvest, red or brown ales are very popular this time of year. How about a toast with a Goose Island Harvest Ale?

Have a Spa Day.  Right, so I’m biased here, but what better time to escape for a great, warm, therapeutic spa treatment than a cool, late afternoon in October? Indulge in the FFC Signature Massage & Facial and you’re guaranteed to see and feel immediate results. Sip a cup of our Ikaati Tea on your way out and you’ll arrive home ready to tackle any post-game hype.

Look at the leaves. While you can’t actually see them changing right in front of your eyes, viewing the vibrant colors of autumn leaves can be quite a mood elevator. Sound boring?  Do it on a bike ride along the lakefront path, go for a drive north to the Botanical Gardens, or continue on to Wisconsin for a change of scenery.

Go to the Beach. There won’t be any volleyball or eye-candy in bathing suits, and you may need a jacket, but the fall is an amazing time to hit the beach. Head there with a chair, a book and a hot chocolate. Even better, head to Montrose Dog Beach and watch the canines frolic!

Get outta Dodge. There are some truly idyllic settings that feel very un-city like that are just a hop, skip, and a short drive or train ride away. Take a run, a brisk walk or do some cycling at one of these sweet spots:  The Illinois Prairie Path, The Desplaines River Trail or the Busse Woods Trail.

Brunch it is.  Enjoy Brunch on your own or with other football-indifferent. Try one of these awesome spots:  Lula Cafe in Logan Square, Bite Café or Nana Organic, and avoid the waits on days when the game is on!

Help others. How about spending a few hours volunteering at a shelter, community garden, nursing home, or even doing a project for an aging parent or grandparent? These days it’s easy to whittle away hours doing things like posting on Facebook and Instagram, and watching re-runs of HIMYM, yet few people reach out to lend a hand to their neighbors. Find opportunities to do just that at: http://www.chicagocares.org/.

Be a tourist for a day. Have you been to the Bean lately? Did you know about the awesome Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute? When was the last time you went kayaking on the Chicago River? There are zillions of things to do in this awesome city that don’t involve a couch or a remote. Get out there and enjoy!

Blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Spa and Retail Manager. Contact Lisa at lellis@ffc.com.

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All Things Marathon!

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Race day is rapidly approaching! Are you ready?!

Volunteers Needed!

FFC will have two cheering stations during the 2014 Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014.

  • Cheering Station #1 – Division and LaSalle, in front of FFC Old Town. The station will be staffed from 7-11am. We will need volunteers to set up the station at 6 am.
  • Cheering Station #2 – Addison and Pine Grove, just down the street from FFC East Lakeview. The station will be staffed from 8 am-Noon. We will need volunteers to set up the station at 7 am.

All volunteers will receive a t-shirt, help FFC staff hand out water and have fun! Click here to register.

Athletes’ Village

On Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, the Chicago Marathon will celebrate its 37th annual running. FFC South Loop is hosting the Athletes’ Village for members, their families and friends. The club will open at 5 am for gear check, and exercise equipment will be available for warm-ups. As race time nears, our very own TriMonster Coaches will escort the runners to the start. Along the route, friends and family are encouraged to visit or volunteers at our cheering stations, where we’ll be handing out water bottles to athletes as they pass near other FFC locations across Chicago. To volunteer, please register at http://ffc.com/marathon .

After the race, come back for a celebration party including food, drink, post-race stretching by our FFC Personal Trainers and mini massages! Runners can even use the bathroom facilities to shower after the race. The FFC South Loop Athletes’ Village is located at 1151 S. State Street and parking is FREE for the first two hours with validation. Space is limited. If you plan to attend, you must reserve your spot and register today.

Spa Perks

The Spa at FFC offers exclusive specials for competitive athletes!  Bring in your valid 2014 race bib or registration and receive a discount: $5 off 30-minute, $10 off 60-minute and $15 off 90-minute massages.

Top 10 Marathon Race Week Tips from FFC’s RunMonster Coaches

It’s race week!

Can you feel the excitement?  Are you going crazy sitting there in your seat just waiting for race day to arrive???

Hopefully you’re as excited as we are! You might feel a little anxious, nervous, and maybe even a bit under-prepared… that’s totally normal! Even professional athletes and 20-time marathoners feel this way. So take confidence from the training you have completed and realize that race week jitters are completely natural and normal for all of us. Have fun and let this feeling of excitement help you plan for race day!

With your training tapering down, you can still improve your race day experience by focusing on the following tips to make the most of your race week preparation. Here are our top 10 tips for navigating race week!

SLEEP

Get as much sleep as you can leading up to race day. Pre-race nerves will cause you to lose sleep the night before an event, making it even more crucial to ensure you get good sleep in the two or three nights prior to event day! Schedule eating dinner earlier each night and plan for an early bed time by turning your lights down – and don’t watch TV late! Sleep and rest are your #1 priority during race week!

HYDRATE

Staying well hydrated with both water and low-calorie electrolyte-rich drinks on the days leading into the marathon will help you reach the start line well hydrated. But don’t overdue it – stick to drinks with the five essential electrolytes:  Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. Coconut water is a great, healthy option that is popular with marathoners due to high levels of electrolytes.

EAT RIGHT

Don’t eat a huge “carbo-loading” meal the night before the race. Make your final carbo-loading meal your lunch so you have plenty of time to digest, then eat a normal dinner. Carbo-loading to top off your glycogen stores is also best performed two to five days out from your race, and best accomplished when you eat immediately after your last few workouts. So plan your runs this week and try your best to ensure you fuel up with healthy foods after every workout!

LAY OUT YOUR GEAR

Don’t wait until the night before race day. Create a checklist and lay out your gear at least two to four days before your event to ensure you have everything you’ll need on race day, including your race nutrition products!

CHECK WEATHER FORECAST

Make sure you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature plans to deal you. Rain jacket? Sunscreen?  If race morning is cool, but is forecasted to warm up quickly, plan to wear layers, or use the old fashioned trick to keep yourself warm at the starting line – poke three holes in a garbage bag and wear it like a poncho. It’s inexpensive and effective for both rain and cold temperatures!

STAY OFF YOUR FEET

The day before the race, avoid spending time at packet pickup expos or sightseeing around town.  Kick your feet up and stay off of them as much as possible. Hit the expo on Friday and put your feet up on Saturday. Traveling by public transportation to the expo? Consider taking the free shuttle from the Roosevelt Red line station, located next to FFC South Loop.

NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY

Don’t be tempted by what other runners are doing, wearing, eating or talking about. Don’t buy and wear a brand new shirt or socks, and don’t try out a new nutrition product. Stick with what you know works and what you trust from training. Create a race morning checklist and don’t forget the little details like your timing chip/bib, sunscreen, body glide or anti-chafe cream (which works best between every toe, on nipples, the back of heart rate monitor straps, between thighs, inner arms, etc.).

VISUALIZE

Spend a few minutes each day leading up to the race walking through the big day in your mind, from waking up to returning home. Write down your morning routine and schedule so that you have plenty of extra time to travel, park, walk to the start, warm up, drop off checked gear and go to the bathroom. Planning your morning by writing down a step-by-step schedule will build confidence for a well executed race morning. Then visualize the race itself… holding back those first few miles (don’t get caught up in adrenaline or run hard up the hilly bridges in the first 5k!), smiling and soaking up the atmosphere. Visualize your race day nutrition and hydration plans (what aid stations do you plan to drink water and gatorade at?). And most importantly, visualize crossing that finish line with a smile!

THINK VICTORY LAP

The true challenge was completing the training – where you’ve logged 95% of your miles already!  What brought you to the start line is truly the accomplishment, and crossing the finish line is just the final 5%. A 26.2 mile long victory lap. Take pride and a sense of accomplishment in knowing this so you can fully enjoy the victory lap that is race day!

SMILE, HAVE FUN AND ENJOY!!!

Smiling, cheering and supporting others will help boost your mood on race day, so don’t forget that you’re doing this for FUN. High five some strangers, soak up the energetic atmosphere and ENJOY THE RUN through one of the world’s greatest marathons!

That’s it. The finish line is getting closer and closer and we wish you great success at the 2014 Chicago Marathon!  Don’t be a stranger on race day either. RSVP and stop by the FFC South Loop Athlete Village as your pre- and post-race meeting spot.  FFC Coaches will help you navigate to the start line and celebrate with fellow members from the FFC Running Club, RunMonster. The post-race party will have burgers, pizza, drinks, snacks, and complimentary massages and stretching from FFC’s personal trainers and the FFC Spa!

GOOD LUCK and we’ll see you on race day. NOW GO RUN THIS TOWN!!!

Blog courtesy of Chris Navin and Cassidy Wall, FFC Marathon Coaches.

Coach Chris is Head Endurance Coach of Fitness Formula Clubs, a 10-time Ironman, and a Level II Certified Coach for USA Triathlon. Chris is also a sub 3:30 marathoner with 18 marathons, including six Chicago fulls, under his belt.

Coach Cassidy is a running coach for the FFC Half and Full Marathon training program, as well as a Top Three Illinois Finishers in the Chicago Marathon last year with a time of 2:49:30. She finished the Boston Marathon 2013 as Top Female Finisher in Illinois and she was an All American athlete ranked 5th in the nation at the Footlocker Nationals. 

For more information on FFC’s Endurance Running programs, please visit ffc.com/running or contact endurance@ffc.com

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Happy (Healthy) Halloween!

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Autumn is a season with a little something for everyone: mild days with crisp nights, the start of football season, corn mazes, apple picking, and, of course, all things back-to-school. Somewhere in there, Halloween takes center stage for many people as the unofficial kick-off to the fast-approaching holiday season.

While Halloween’s sweet treat indulgences are certainly something fun to look forward to, it is important to keep in mind that excess added sugar has been linked to multiple health issues, particularly obesity. This begs the question: What is a health-conscious Halloween enthusiast to do?

We have some tips, tricks and even treats to help you make the most out of your Halloween fun while keeping a healthful eye on what you consume.

Be Creative with Party Snacks – Not everything has to be 100% healthy for a Halloween spread – let’s face it, we all need a piece of candy occasionally – but providing healthy alternatives is a great way to encourage healthy eating and to help avoid over-indulging on candy.

  • BOO-nanas: skewer half of a banana onto a popsicle stick, dip it in orange juice, roll it in shredded coconut, and press on raisins for eyes and mouths. Here is a great tutorial
  • Spooky Apple Dentures: use a small smear of peanut butter to hold together 2 apple wedges and decorate them with mini marshmallows or almonds for teeth
  • Devilish dip and vegetable bones: give a normal crudité platter a Halloween twist by arranging vegetables to look like a skeleton, and maybe even adding carrot fingers to a healthy dip recipe like this

Find Trick-or-Treat Alternatives – For the health-conscious parents looking to shake up their Halloween treats, we have put together a list of healthy, Halloween-inspired treats that can be given away instead of candy:

  • Jack O’Lantern oranges: Simply draw Jack O’Lantern faces onto the outside of oranges, tangerines or even fruit cups to add a little Halloween flair to these healthy snacks
  • Mummy apples: Wrap pieces of non-stick gauze tape around a Granny Smith apple and add edible eyes to make this spooky snack
  • Or, stock up on non-food items     like temporary tattoos, stickers, spider rings, spooky skull erasers, skeleton pencils, and other such items to give away in lieu of the traditional trick-or-treat candy

Indulge (a little) – Go ahead, indulge, but do so in moderation. Have a piece of candy and enjoy it. The main key here is moderation. Indulging a sweet tooth in moderation can help to control the urge to binge eat on all the readily available Halloween candy. But, if you do overindulge this Halloween, remember that all of us at FFC are here to help you work it off!

Blog courtesy of Fitness Formula Club Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Carla Schmitz, MS, RDN, LDN. Contact Carla at cschmitz@ffc.com

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Heartland Alliance Coat Drive

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Share Warmth. Donate a Gently Used Coat.

Recycle your gently used warm winter coats and help those in need. Heartland Alliance, the Midwest’s leading anti-poverty organization, is gathering men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ winter coats for recently arrived refugees who are receiving resettlement services in Chicago from the Alliance. Please help make their transition to a new life in Chicago a little warmer by donating your warm coats today through Saturday, Oct. 25. See designated receptacles at FFC East Lakeview, Gold Coast, Halsted Street, Lincoln Park and Oak Park to donate. Visit www.heartlandalliance.org to learn more about this cause.

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FREE Injury Screenings

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Do you have an injury that pops up now and again, or a persistent pain that won’t go away? Stop by one of Fitness Formula Clubs’ following locations for a complimentary injury screening, courtesy of NovaCare.

Thursday, Oct. 2 – FFC Halsted Street – 5:30-7 pm
Tuesday, Oct. 7 – FFC West Loop – 5:30-7 pm
Wednesday, Oct. 15 – FFC Old Town – 5:30-7 pm
Tuesday, Oct. 21 – FFC East Lakeview – 5:30-7 pm
Thursday, Oct. 23 – FFC Union Station – 11 am – 1 pm
Thursday, Oct. 23 – FFC South Loop – 5:30-7 pm
Wednesday, Oct. 29 – FFC Halsted Street – 5:30-7 pm

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New Staff

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Welcome Justin Boulden, our newest personal trainer! Justin specializes in Functional Training, High Intensity Interval Training, TRX/Body Weight Training, Weight Loss and Strength Training. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute session by emailing Justin at jboulden@ffc.com today!

Welcome Carla Schmitz, MS, RD, LDN, our new Registered Dietitian who will be servicing all of our FFC East Lakeview and Halsted Street members with their nutritional needs! You can contact Carla directly at cschmitz@ffc.com . Ask her about our new Nutrition Solutions program!

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Halloween Blood Drive

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Giving blood doesn’t have to suck! On Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 am – 2 pm, FFC East Lakeview will be hosting a blood drive to benefit the Heartland Blood Center, which serves nearby Thorek and St. Joseph’s Hospitals. Donors will be screened and able to donate on site that day. Besides cookies and other Halloween treats, donors will also receive a coupon for $20 off any regular priced massage and 25% off a single item in the sports shop. Click here to register.

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Tan-tober Fest

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Keep your summer glow! Add unlimited tanning to your membership for $19.95 per month and get 30% off tanning products* with your purchase. Current unlimited tanning members will get 15% off tanning products*.
*Goggles and lotions

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HalloWERQ

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Join us for a spooky fun cardio dance fitness class that has never been this fierce! On Friday, Oct. 31 at 6:30 pm, come dressed in your favorite costume to dance 45 minutes away torching some serious calories to all your favorite pop, rock and hip hop hits. Choreography is inspired by the official music videos and song lyrics. Are you ready to WERQ, Halloween-style?

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30 Years and Getting Stronger

30-Years-stronger-best-chicago-club-gymSeptember marks FFC’s 30th birthday! That is an incredible feat that would have been impossible without our members, and we want to thank you! To show you our appreciation, we will be offering complimentary events throughout the month, including fitness and Pilates demos, Spa open houses, nutrition seminars, Krav Maga workshops, free samples, giveaways and more! Check out the the full schedule of events below or visit your home clubs’ calendar for happenings at your specific gym.

In celebration of our 30 years, FFC will launch a new 30-second video every day in September! The videos will feature one of our licensed personal trainers, and a few surprise guests, demonstrating their favorite exercise moves, just for you! Check out our YouTube channel and “like” your favorites on Fitness Formula Clubs’ Facebook page!

Over the past 30 years, Chicago based Fitness Formula Clubs has grown to a network of nine locations. We are proud to serve the Chicagoland community and eager to provide an exceptional value proposition. What better way to celebrate 30 years in Chicago than a baseball game! FFC has partner with the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs to offer our members specially priced tickets, in celebration of Fitness Formula Clubs’ 30th anniversary! Click links below for complete details and to purchase tickets.

Cubs vs. Dodgers: Sunday, Sept. 21, 1:20 pm

White Sox vs.Royals: Thursday, Sept. 25, 7:10 pm



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Volunteers Needed!

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FFC will have two cheering stations during the 2014 Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014.

Cheering Station #1 – Division and LaSalle, in front of FFC Old Town. The station will be staffed from 7-11am. We will need volunteers to set up the station at 6 am.
Cheering Station #2 – Addison and Pine Grove, just down the street from FFC East Lakeview. The station will be staffed from 8 am-Noon. We will need volunteers to set up the station at 7 am.

All volunteers will receive a t-shirt, help FFC staff hand out water and have fun! Click here to register.

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FFC Community Events

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October

Get a Leg Up in the Park: Every Sunday, 10 am, August – October
Get your fitness on with art and fresh air in South Loop’s Grant Park, located on the northeast corner of State and Roosevelt. Complimentary classes are open to all and benefit Grant Park Conservancy.

Chicago Marathon: Sunday, Oct. 12
Did you get a spot in one of the country’s most sought-after races? Congratulations! Stop by FFC’s TriMonster team on race day for VIP perks, or take advantage of FFC South Loop’s Athletes’ Village for gear check, transportation to the starting line, and a celebrations after! RSVP here (click continue at the bottom of the page). Or join FFC’s TriMonster training team so you never have to run alone!

Make sure to join FFC for the Chamber Live Well Events the week leading up to the Chicago Marathon.  FFC Old Town’s very own Matt Thomas will be hosting the Neighborhood Jog on Monday, Oct. 6 at 7:45 am. The jog will begin at the North/Wells Old Town gates or Burton Place plaza.  Come join us!

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Congratulations TriMonster Team!

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FFC’s TriMonster team collected enough points at the Chicago Triathlon Sunday, Aug. 24 to become the USA Triathlon Division III Club National Champions! This wasn’t just a one-stop win. All triathletes competing as members of the TriMonster team for USAT-sanctioned events throughout the year placed so well and, at times, travelled far, to accumulate enough points to not only win our division, but also to beat any other team in Chicago, including teams twice our size! We couldn’t have done it without you, TriMonsters, so thank you! What a great way to finish out the club season!

 

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FFC Community Events

5-community-events-best-chicago-gymCheck out what’s happening about town!

September

Get a Leg Up in the Park: First and third Sunday, second and fourth Monday, August – October
Get your fitness on with art and fresh air in South Loop’s Grant Park, located on the northeast corner of State and Roosevelt. Complimentary classes are open to all and benefit Grant Park Conservancy.

Storm the Stadium: Saturday, Sept. 6
Register online and use code FFC10 for a 20% discount at checkout. http://www.stormthestadium.com/
It’s the ultimate in water cooler bragging rights! Chicago’s only open-air and, easily, most challenging stair climb: close to triple the number of stairs in the Willis Tower! Survivors from the hit CBS Television reality series captain teams to the finish line. Blaring music spurs on climbers, Rocky-style. Charity Partner Program benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, and Special Olympics. Pictures with “Survivors” and autograph signing following the event.

Oak Park Fit Fest: Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 am – 3 pm
Fitness Formula Clubs and Downtown Oak Park invite you enjoy a full day of fun fitness activities and healthy living ideas for the whole family! There’s something for everyone, including a live DJ, activities for the kids, fitness classes, representation from health care providers, healthy food options and more! Located in the Colt lot across from the club. Contact Jeff Long at jlong@ffc.com with questions or for more information.

Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic: Saturday, Sept. 6
Come and cheer on your fellow swimmers as they battle wind and waves at Ohio Street Beach at one of the US’ greatest open-water races! Fitness Formula Clubs and TriMonster are sponsoring the sold-out race, which starts at 8 am, so stop by the tent to say “hi!”

IronMan Wisconsin: Sunday, Sept. 7
Are you taking on the monster of all endurance events – a full Ironman? Good! For! You! Sign up for theIronMan newsletter, select “IronMonsters” as your TriClub via http://ironman.com/triathlon/subscribe and you will be automatically added to the FFC IronMonster triathlon training club team roster! Enjoy perks like a team tent, team dinners, photo opps and more! For more information visit http://ffc.com/ironmonster or contact endurance@ffc.com.

TriRock Lake Geneva: Saturday, Sept. 13
If you haven’t already signed up, enter code FFCTRIROCK for $15 off all entries! Then join FFC’s TriMonster team on race day for VIP perks! RSVP here (click continue at the bottom of the first page). Or join FFC’s TriMonster triathlon training team so you never have to train alone!

FabFest: Sunday, Sept. 14
We are so excited to celebrate the 5th anniversary of FabFest, the ultimatehealth and wellness experience on September 14, 2014, at the Westin River North from 10am-3pm. This action packed day offers one-of-a-kind workouts from Chicago’s top studios including FFC, Shred415, Dailey Method, Flybarre, The Barre Code, just to name a few.  World renown yoga instructor, Kathryn Budig, will be part of this year’s fitness lineup! In addition to the high end fitness sessions, FabFest also offers pampering beauty and wellness treatments, as well as empowering breast and ovarian health education. Women across Chicagoland embrace this day to try out the greatest new workouts, get a little pampering, empower themselves and inspire the women they love. Critical to the success of the event, FabFest participants also raise funds to fuel Bright Pink’s life-saving mission. Help support the FFC Team by donating here!

Cubs vs. Dodgers: Sunday, Sept. 21, 1:20 pm
Join us for Fitness Formula Day at Wrigley! The Chicago Cubs and Fitness Formula Clubs have partnered to offer our members specially priced tickets, in celebration of Fitness Formula Clubs’ 30th anniversary!

Field Box OF – $49
Upper Deck Box IF – $46
Upper Deck Box OF – $34
Terrace Reserved IF – $26
Terrace Reserved OF – $20
Upper Deck Reserved IF – $14
Upper Deck Reserved OF – $13
Budweiser Bleachers – $28

Tickets will be available for purchase online two weeks prior to game day at www.cubs.com/fitnessformula.

White Sox vs.Royals: Thursday, Sept. 25, 7:10 pm
The Chicago White Sox and Fitness Formula Clubs have partnered to offer our members specially priced tickets, up to $15 off, in celebration of Fitness Formula Clubs’ 30th anniversary!

Lower Box seats – $25 (Normally $40)
Outfield Reserved seats – $12 (Normally $22)
Bleachers – $10 (Normally $20)
Upper Box – $10 (Normally $15)

In addition to specially priced tickets, we invite all members to take part in a pre-game parade* prior to the game! Come out and take a lap on the field around the warning track and enjoy a night of baseball with your friends!

*Parade passes are limited to the first 1,800 tickets purchased. Please make sure to add the parade passes to your order on the confirmation page after you select your seats. You must be at Gate 1 at 6:15 pm with your parade passes to participate in the parade. Orders will NOT be redeemed at the U.S. Cellular Field ticket windows or the White Sox administrative offices. Click here to order tickets.

October

Get a Leg Up in the Park: First and third Sunday, second and fourth Monday, August – October
Get your fitness on with art and fresh air in South Loop’s Grant Park, located on the northeast corner of State and Roosevelt. Complimentary classes are open to all and benefit Grant Park Conservancy.

Chicago Marathon: Sunday, Oct. 12
Did you get a spot in one of the country’s most sought-after races? Congratulations! Stop by FFC’s TriMonster team on race day for VIP perks! RSVP here (click continue at the bottom of the page). Or join FFC’s TriMonster training team so you never have to run alone!

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FREE Injury Screenings

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Do you have an injury that pops up now and again, or a persistent pain that won’t go away? Stop by one of Fitness Formula Clubs’ following locations for a complimentary injury screening, courtesy of NovaCare.

Wednesday, Sept. 3 – Halsted Street: 6-7:30 pm
Tuesday, Sept. 9 – West Loop: 6-7:30 pm
Wednesday, Sept. 10 – Lincoln Park: 5:30-7 pm
Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Old Town: 6-7:30 pm
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – East Lakeview: 5:30-7 pm
Wednesday, Sept. 24 – Union Station: 11 am-1:30 pm
Wednesday, Sept. 24 – South Loop: 5:30-7 pm

 

Best-muscle-activation-techniques-gym-chicago

Muscle Activation Technique

Best-muscle-activation-techniques-gym-chicago

Do you wish to improve joint stability, increase range of motion and enhance overall function and performance, regardless of your age or physical ability? Fitness Formula Clubs offers an exciting and unique system that does just that, by identifying and correcting muscular imbalances, known as Muscle Activation Techniques™ (MAT™).

MAT™ gets to the root of muscle tightness by addressing muscle weakness, which can cause subsequent other muscles to overcompensate to stabilize your joints. Taking this approach helps to restore normal body alignment, thereby improving performance and keeping you more comfortable overall. If you are an athlete, fitness enthusiast or rehabilitation patient who is:

  • Seriously concerned about joint health as you age
  • Hesitant to exercise as hard as you want due to chronic injury and pain
  • Confused about how best to stop joint pain when working out
  • Worried about chronic aches and pains post workout
  • Stiff and inflexible and stretching is not working
  • Tired of nagging injuries preventing your fitness progress…

MAT™ may be the answer to what ails you.

If you experience any of these concerns contact FFC MAT™ Specialist Martin Kimpston at mkimpston@ffc.com to explore the possibility of adding it into your health and fitness plan.

 

Personal-Training-best-chicago-gym-club

New Trainers

Personal-Training-best-chicago-gym-club

FFC East Lakeview welcomes new trainers Louie Nissan and Dillon Cassidy!

Louie specializes in Core Training, Flexibility / Stretching, Functional Training, Heart Rate Zone Training, High Intensity Interval Training, Post Rehabilitation, Stability / Balance, TRX/Body Weight Training, and Weight Loss. Contact Louie at lnissan@ffc.com.

Dillon specializes in TRX/Body Weight Training, Kettlebells, Weight Loss, and Fun!  If you are interested in toning, shaping or defining, contact Lifestyle Coach, Dillon at dcassidy@ffc.com.

 

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What’s New

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Cybex Arc Trainer

The Arc Trainer, is scientifically tested to be gentler on your joints and burn 16% more calories than an elliptical.  On the Arc Trainer, the legs travel in a biomechanically correct path of motion. The Arc Trainer is three machines in one.  At the lower incline, the motion is the glide of a cross country skier.  In the mid-range levels, the motion is that of an elliptical.  In the higher inclines, the motion is similar to a stepper or climber.

See your Fitness Specialist for a complimentary demonstration.

Also New in 2014

  • Life Fitness Multi-Jungle - The reconfigured layout provides an additional 40 sq ft of stretching and functional space.
  • Power Plate PRO7 – This vibration training device features multi directional cables with variable resistance to achieve functional training results like never before.
  • Keiser M3 – Improve your ride with this award winning indoor cycle equipped with a computer display to measure cadence, power, heart rate, time, gear, and distance.
  • Pilates Studio Expansion – Along with a bigger space, the Pilates Studio now has a total of (5) Peak Pilates Chairs and (6) Balance Body Studio Reformers with Towers to enhance your workout experience.
  • NovaCare Rehabilitation is now conveniently located on site to quickly address any physical therapy concerns.
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Fitness Formula Clubs App

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Click here to download the all new Fitness Formula Clubs App now!

Exciting news, the FFC App is up and running. For those of you android users, the app is available on Google Play and for the Apple version visit the App Store.

The FFC APP is very user friendly and intuitive.  Read on if you prefer to learn more before you download.

Main Menu Tile Deck (from left to right and top to bottom):

  • Card – Enter the barcode from your membership card and check in to the club using your phone.
  • FFC Logo – Links directly to ffc.com
  • Check In – Check in via social media channels and let your friends know you are at the club.
  • Announcements/Notifications – Announcements will scroll through a list of all current promotions, events or happenings at the clubs. Notifications will appear if there are time sensitive issues that we need to let you know about. Once you have read the notification, click on it to return to announcements.
  • My Schedule – Use this feature to get up to date listing of group fitness classes which can be customized using the “Build Your Schedule” feature in the “Schedules” tab of the drop down menu.
  • Book It – Convenient link to book Spa and Ortanic appointments.
  • YouTube – Direct link to the FFC YouTube channel which hosts your favorite trainers’ 30 sec videos!
  • Facebook – Direct link to your clubs’ Facebook page, like and favorite the page for daily updates.
  • Twitter – Direct link to the FFC Twitter account, become a follower.
  • Feedback – Let us know what you think, send us your comments about the app or the clubs.
  • FitFriends – Invite your contacts to become part of the FFC community. Create and join interest groups and connect with other members.

When downloading the app, you will choose a home club and can change locations at any time using the “Change Locations” tab in the drop down menu.

Drop Down Menu (orange tile at top left of screen):

  • Home – Back to main menu tile deck
  • Change locations – Allows you to pick another club.
  • Schedules – Build Your Schedule, touch the star to choose locations, instructors classes and add to personal calendars.
  • FitFriends – Same as tile deck feature above.
  • Announcements – Same as tile deck feature above.
  • Card – Same as tile deck feature above.
  • YouTube Channel – Same as tile deck feature above.
  • Book It – Same as tile deck feature above.
  • Contact Hours – Specific to the home club chosen.
  • Travel Pass – IHRSA club finder for when you are traveling.
  • Feedback – Same as tile deck feature above.
  • Notifications – Same as tile deck feature above.

 

 

nutrition-diet-weight-loss-best-Chicago-gym-club

Packed Lunch

 

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Pack a Punch with Your Lunch

It’s that time of year again – back to school – and we think it’s time the old brown bag lunch got an upgrade. Whether your children (or you) are headed back to school, or you’re just stuck in a lunch rut, we’ve got some tips on how to make the most out of the lunch hour to leave you or your little one feeling revitalized and ready to take on the second half of the day.

Don’t skip the protein

Concentration goes out the window when we’re hungry. Protein-rich foods help us to feel fuller for longer periods of time, so incorporating them into lunch will help to ensure afternoon attentiveness.

What we recommend: lean meats (chicken, tuna salad), hard-boiled eggs and nut butters.

Get creative with vegetables

Chips and other salty snacks might be the side of choice for many, but they offer little to no nutrition. Vegetables, on the other hand, are chock-full of vitamins and minerals that help keep our bodies and minds healthy. If you have a picky eater on your hands, sneaking them in can be a great way to ensure vegetables are eaten. Try adding them to soups, sauces or macaroni, replacing tortilla wraps with lettuce leaves, or including some vegetables in homemade muffins.

What we recommend: carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery (with peanut butter!) or really any other vegetables!

Stick to whole fruits, avoid the juice

Juices can be full of sugar and artificial ingredients, and lack all of the fiber naturally found in fruit. Instead of a juice box, opt for a piece of whole fruit or a serving of berries instead.

What we recommend: apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, melon slices, peaches or really any other whole fruits!

Limit processed snacks

While they may be convenient, processed snacks such as cracker sandwiches, deli meats, prepackaged lunches and snack cakes are often void of nutrients and filled with unrecognizable ingredients, including chemicals and preservatives. Replace these foods with their more natural counterparts for a healthier and more wholesome side item or sweet treat.

What we recommend: whole grain crackers with string cheese, plain Greek yogurt with fruit, apples with peanut butter, vegetable sticks with hummus or homemade baked goods.

Keep it cool

If your lunch contains perishable items, keeping things cool is very important. If refrigeration is out of the question, you may need to add an ice pack to the bottom of your lunch box. This helps to keep food from spoiling and makes for a safer lunch experience.

What we recommend: reusable ice packs, insulated lunch bags or boxes.

Blog courtesy of Fitness Formula Club Registered Dietitian Carrie Linke, MS, RD, LDN. Contact Carrie at clinke@ffc.com.

Ortanic-Best-chicago-airbrush-tan

Offer Extended!

Ortanic-Best-chicago-airbrush-tan

Save $30 on a 3-Pack of airbrush tans… $99 (reg. $129)!* You loved it so much last month, we extended it for one more!  Call or visit your favorite Ortanic location for more information or book your appointment now.
*September 2014 only. Now through Oct. 31! May not be combined with other promotions or discounts. Non-transferable and may not be shared.

Fall Trends 2014

Fall is here!  It’s a little bittersweet, but there are so many new and fun trends that arrive with Autumn, especially when it comes to hair, makeup and nails.  With New York Fashion Week just behind us, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the most popular trends for the upcoming months, which make up my very favorite season!

Nails. The hottest beauty trends for Fall nails involve neutral tones, particularly beige, chocolate, nude and mocha. Choose a glossy polish for lighter colors and matte for darker hues. This will make it easy to match with outfits and accessories. Bottom line: Keep it simple!

Lips. The bolder the better! Deep reds and darker colors are the main hit for the season. This fall make your lips the main event. Attention grabbing lip colors and light makeup is the way to go .

Hair. Breathe a sigh of relief, ladies: having our hair up is finally a trend!  No more fussing with spray, pins or fancy ‘dos. Braids, buns and ponytails are all in, so feel free to throw your hair up and feel confident. Keep the style loose and beachy!

Accessories.  There is no better way to transform a basic outfit than with some jewelry. This is the season for accessories! Grab your biggest earrings or a chunky necklace, couple it with a black ensemble, and you have a simple, classy outfit which will last you all through the season!

Eyes.  Move over smokey eye liners and shadows and make way for the return of “winged” eyeliner! This is my particular favorite look and I have been rocking it all year long. Think 1960’s Hollywood Glam! It might be a little hard to learn at first, but one simple trick is to use a liquid eyeliner in deep black and hold your eye tautly closed as you apply. Check out how-to videos on YouTube.

Also this season anything that’s heavy on the black is in. So go to town on the eyeliner and full mascara… then add some more! Wear it with style and confidence.  Now’s the time!

Last bit of advice:  Don’t try to mix the deep red lipstick with the heavy black eyes. It’s best to stick to one or the other. Light eyes with dark lips, or dark lips with light eyes. And don’t forget to get your Ortanic tan!  Especially with all the dark colors in this season. Dark colors always look better on tan skin. Enjoy these wonderful trends and have fun!  Happy Fall!

Blog courtesy of Kat Maj, Ortanic Coordinator. Contact Kat at kmaj@ffc.com.

Spa-Best-chicago-massage-gym-club

Introducing FFC’s Signature Massage

Spa-Best-chicago-massage-gym-clubA customized 75-minute therapeutic massage treatment incorporating massage methods such as Swedish, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, Sports and more, to ensure results that address your specific needs. This treatment features hot packs and towels, balancing facial and scalp massage, and organic aromatherapy. A must-have treatment for anyone with chronic or acute pain and/or stress! Try it this month for just $95!*

Come in and help us celebrate our 30th Anniversary, Spa-Style! Try any one, or all, of these for just $30 each!

  • Spa Deluxe Pedicure
  • Massage Tune-Up (20 Minutes)
  • Mini-Facial (20 Minutes)

*Offer expires Sept. 30, 2014. May not be combined with other offers or discounts.

Falling Back Doesn’t Have to be So Tough

Sure, sure, we all love summer in Chicago. And who wouldn’t? We’ve got Cubs games, backyard parties, alfresco dining, kayaking on the river, fireworks at Navy Pier and volleyball at the lakefront beaches. But with a late start and a shortage of hot and sunny days, this summer definitely went by faster than usual.

Oh well, c’est la vie. It’s time to look ahead and hope that Autumn will bring appropriate crispness and all of its colorful, leafy goodness. Here is a list of suggestions to help you plan for the upcoming days, which will inevitably be shorter and cooler, and enjoy each and every day to its fullest.

Top 11 things to do in the fall that you won’t in the summer:

  1. Find quiet time indoors for DIY projects, reading, writing or even office work you’ve put off.

  2. Take walks during your lunch hour. Fall sun is amazing at 1 or 2 pm when the day is at its warmest, and with cooler temperatures you might not need a change of clothes afterward. So, get out there and enjoy 15 minutes soaking up some Vitamin D and taking a break from the computer.

  3. Reconnect with your favorite TV show. You know you’ve been waiting months for it to return to you, so put your feet up, hold out your arms with that remote and show your favorite characters some love. (Hello, Homeland, come to Mama)

  4. Join that Fantasy Football League. For the record, this is one I don’t know the first thing about it, but it sounds like fun…for you, I mean.

  5. Break out that roll-neck sweater you wore in college. Nostalgia and a cozy sweater are good for the soul!

  6. Cheat on your meal plan just a little, since no one will see you in a bathing suit for months. Plus, you can come inside and work it off at your favorite FFC club!

  7. Take advantage of the perfect-for-running cool weather to do your run outside, without dropping from the humidity or freezing in the cold.

  8. Cheer on Chicago Marathon runners. If you’re not participating this year, get out there and yell “Viva Peru” or “Go guy in the yellow shirt!” Believe me, those runners really appreciate it at any mile of the race.

  9. Enjoy some indoor “me-time” without the guilt. Head to the spa (great deals by the way, hint hint, www.ffc.com/spa), the movies, the Field Museum or do some shopping.

  10. Go to your children’s (if you have ‘em) plays, recitals, games, matches, etc. They’re only kids once, so grumble under your breath if you need to, but go watch, applaud and be proud.

  11. Dress up for Halloween and go to Thanksgiving Dinner with people you love and that make you laugh. Quality family time. Um, yes please!


Blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Spa and Retail Manager. Contact Lisa at lellis@ffc.com.

Labor-Day-Best-Chicago-Club-Hours

Labor Day Hours 2014

Labor-Day-Best-Chicago-Club-Hours

This Labor Day, take advantage of your three-day weekend! Stop by your favorite FFC location for a workout or class before taking advantage of fun activities throughout the city (including the LAST weekend of Navy Pier classes and fireworks)! Scroll through to see an updated list of group class times, and click though the links below if you need ideas how to stay active, safe and happy all weekend!

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Real Good Food

 

Organic-nutrition-health-best-gym-club-Chicago

Keep it Real

Sometimes we forget that proper nutrition is as, if not more, important than exercise. If we want to be our healthiest, we can’t depend solely on working out. We need to remember to eat properly, get enough sleep and avoid stress, on top of staying active. That can seem like a lot to juggle, but it’s not impossible.

Did you know we dedicate an average of eight-and-a-half hours a week to eating and drinking, and only about two-and-a-half to exercising? That gives us nearly three times the opportunity to make healthy choices in the foods we put into our bodies. In the age of having anything and everything at our fingertips, we can forget that our food is raised, processed and distributed differently than it used to be. The use of chemicals and fillers in our food source has led to a surge of allergies and diseases that didn’t exist even 100 years ago.

The quality of our food, and our lives, decreases the farther we get from REAL, UNprocessed food. The average American drinks up to 38 gallons of soda per year, contributing to enough calories to gain 16 pounds.

FFC’s Registered Dietitians, Jessica Dogert, RD, LDN, CPT, and Carrie Linke, MS, RD, LDN, say that it’s important to keep in mind that we are meant to take in calories, and that the right food is a powerful medicine that can ease anxiety, enhance energy levels, boost immunity, help you sleep, boost brain power and heal our bodies.

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to eat healthy is cutting down on how much they are eating. Jessica says it’s not about eating less… it’s about eating smarter. You need to remember how important it is to give your body the nutrients it needs. Carrie says another mistake people make is following a “diet” rather than trying to make a lifestyle change. Nutrition is individualized, and what works for one person may not work for everyone. There are certainly universal truths about healthy eating, but everyone’s dietary needs are inevitably different, so educating yourself should be step number one before making any drastic changes.

When it comes to fitness, you can’t hope to PR your next half marathon if all you’ve been doing is running, without paying attention to what you’ve been eating. Jessica reminds us that food can greatly enhance, and also hinder, athletic performance. Carrie reiterates that we need energy in order to sustain any sort of activity, in the gym or otherwise, and that food provides that fuel. Eating what’s right for you before a workout can give you the boost you need to push harder throughout, while eating the right foods afterward will help repair your metabolism-boosting muscles and reduce fatigue. Proper nutrition is the key to keeping us energized and healthy. Period.

Motivation to succeed is all you need! Carrie says sometimes we hit roadblocks on our way to accomplishing our goals, and that having an accountability partner allows us to check in with someone who can offer encouragement, motivation and support, helping us stay committed. Jessica says it is her passion to inspire others to fuel their bodies with real foods so they can fuel their purpose in life. Our certified, experienced, passionate dieticians want to be your sidekick in helping you reach your overall health goals, and know you will, without a doubt, feel a difference once you experience real food on a regular basis!

Jessica and Carrie, both registered dietitians (RD), want us to remember that while every RD is a nutritionist, not every nutritionist is an RD. Look for the right credentials for advice you can trust!

Guest blog by Allie Kuopus, Marketing Assistant. Contact Jessica at jdogert@ffc.com and Carrie at clinke@ffc.com.

 

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Injury Recovery and Prevention

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If you have neck pain, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic headaches or other ailments, we can help! Speed up your recovery, prevent further injury and ease your pain with therapeutic massage. This August, purchase a 6- or 12-pack of Performance Massages and receive a Bonus Spa Punchcard with offers for 40% off any facial, a $20 credit AND 25% off a single item in the Sport Shop. See a Spa Associate for details or purchase your Performance Massage pack online today.
*Offer expires Aug. 31, 2014. May not be combined with other offers or discounts.

My Journey to 13.1

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico for my cousin’s wedding, I rolled my ankle, spraining it badly enough to keep me from dancing the Salsa and Merengue. Now, I’ve sprained an ankle before, once on a rigorous rock climb in New Hampshire, and another time while simply taking a downhill climb of a staircase at my last job.  Not adventurous, but it got the job done. This time, however, was especially deflating. It happened on my last long training run before for my first-ever half marathon, which was meant to be run in Massachusetts just nine days later. While still in the Caribbean, I followed the proper protocol for injury with inflammation, and took liberties with a couple of more enjoyable steps…..Rest, Ice, Swim in the Ocean, Compression, Elevation, Pina Colada. You get the idea. The salty air, warm ocean currents and rum drinks made up for my pain and frustration for a few days and, of course, my background as a massage therapist came in handy.

It wasn’t until nearly a week later when I returned to Chicago and visited the Ankle and Foot specialist, that the real pain set in and I received the news that I had sprained two ligaments and was most certainly not going to be running 13.1 miles that Sunday. I felt a pinch in my soul trump the pain in my ankle.  After a couple of years of turmoil, I’d finally gotten myself back to a place where I could train consistently, and had done so for several months.  Forgetting about my injury for the time it took to put that beast of a soft cast on, I thought about my journey leading up to training for this race.  The previous four years had been full of colossal life events, some exciting, some downright devastating:  Making the move from Pennsylvania to Chicago, getting engaged, getting married, honeymooning in Africa, the passing of my husband’s beloved mother, the nervous breakdown of someone very close to me, my Mom’s war with (and triumph over) Acute Myeloid Leukemia, among of host of other hurdles.  As a matter of perspective, this seemed small, yet I wasn’t ready to release the idea that all my training was for naught. I needed that run to make up for all that had gone wrong in just the last year alone.  This run was meant to be my victory lap over my tribulations! They finished my casting and I left the office saddened, disappointed and bewildered.

I spent the next few days complaining and whining to anyone who would listen, telling and retelling the story of how “my race” would not be happening and how crushing that was.  I tried to make light of it, but I was still bugged. On top of my own injury, my husband, who was also training, was suffering from Achilles pain and decided the run would not happen for him either.  Still, we elected to keep our plans to travel to Boston to watch my sister-in-law complete the run that we had all planned together.  We flew to Logan and I silently brooded in my uncomfortable Southwest seat.  Our flight was delayed and we didn’t land until almost four hours behind schedule. Ugh. Roadblocks.

Saturday the mood lightened with the presence of my curiously funny and sweet 3-year-old niece, and then dinner and drinks with an old friend, but it wasn’t until the next morning that the self-pity party disbanded.  Sunday was a beautiful New England early summer day. I was with my family. The coffee was perfectly brewed. When we got to the site, I could feel the race-day energy all around me.  In a flash, I had my moment of clarity. It wasn’t about running a half marathon. It was about the countless hours of early-morning, lunchtime and evening training runs, the cross-training, the sweating it out, and the crying it out, and now it was about supporting the several thousand others who had done the same.  I had run more than 350 miles during the few months leading up to the Newburyport Half Marathon, so what did it matter that I couldn’t run on that day? I was suddenly grateful and elated that I was able to be there, healthy and happy, to watch many others breeze through and struggle alike, with every mile,

During my recovery time, I improved my swimming and cycling skills, socialized more with friends, and dusted off and read the books that had fallen behind the pack because of my training. There was always a tiny inner voice whispering to me that if I didn’t recover faster, it would take forever to get back at it, but I quieted it as best I could, and remained patient. It took me seven weeks to run my first miles after my Isla Verde ankle sprain. I only completed two miles that first day, but over the course of several days I found my stamina and strength. That first week I ran what amounted to 13.1 miles (as accurately as my GPS would allow). My own intentional half marathon. There was no medal. No finish line. There was, however, the satisfaction of having set out on a journey, arriving at a destination, taking a deep breath, and continuing on to find new pathways and purpose.  Satisfying indeed.

Guest blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Spa and Retail Director. Contact Lisa at lellis@ffc.com.

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Ortanic

4-ortanic-best-chicago-custom-airbrush-tanSave the Burn for Your Workout. Get A Flawless Tan Without The Sun.
When the weather, your schedule or your skin’s sensitivity does not cooperate before your date, meeting or special event, a tanned look can boost your confidence and bolster your ranking on the fun-o-meter.  Purchase an Ortanic Membership or Series this month, and we’ll give you 15% off any retail item*!  Our bronzers, tan extenders and body products ensure that your custom airbrush tan looks stellar and extends the life of your color.
*Offer expires Sept. 15, 2014.  May not be combined with other offers or discounts on retail products.  

Visit the website for more information, or book your appointment now.

Save Your Skin

Well we’re here — smack dab in the middle of summer.  Indeed all the things we love about summer are the very same things our skin hates!  A warm, breezy beach day, a dip in the pool, an afternoon at your BFF’s backyard barbecue are oh so much fun, but the sun is wielding its powers all the while, leaving you with damage that may not be seen until it’s too late. Think about following these simple steps to save your skin and still enjoy all of your favorite summertime activities:

Step One: Stay Hydrated
Heat, chlorine and a few martinis can take a toll on our bodies, and it reflects on our skin. Combatting the effects of summer does not need to be an extravagant ordeal. Something as simple as not drinking alcohol for a week and eating a healthy diet will make a tremendous difference to your skin. Make sure you try to stay away from sugars, salts and processed foods.  Don’t forget to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and, when drinking alcohol, be sure to enjoy a glass of water between cocktails to help to avoid a hangover. Your body and skin are thirsty, don’t deprive them!

Step two: Exfoliate and Moisturize
Your body has a buildup of dead skin cells from the sun and other outdoor elements. Give it a proper exfoliation for good skin turnover. This is easily done in the shower once or twice a week for both your face and body. For the body, I recommend Hempz Sugar Body Scrub Polish, since it’s gentle, yet effective.  It also smells amazing!  For the face, I have been using Derma Peel by Rhonda Allison. It’s an enzyme exfoliator and helps with deeper cell penetration for greater cell turnover. Once all those dead skin cells are gone you can nourish your skin with a great moisturizer to unveil the gorgeous skin underneath.  We all know there’s nothing like soft, silky smooth skin.

Step Three: Add a Nighttime Anti-Aging Regimen and Get Some Sleep!
Most of us are already using some type of moisturizing serum or face cream post shower. It’s time to switch it up for a month or two… or even for longer than that.  Add an anti-aging moisturizer or cream specific for nighttime to your daily regimen. Why? Because when you’re sleeping, your body is working to renew and regenerate itself. Nighttime is the best time to use any type of serums or anti-aging products. After you apply, brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea and get some zzz’s.  And make sure you are getting at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. You’re welcome.  ;-)

Step Four: Protect with SPF
Just because summer is coming to an end in a few weeks, or you already have a tan, does not mean it’s time to put away the SPF. The sun’s rays are just as damaging in the colder seasons as they are in the summer time. Always include an SPF moisturizer in your daily skincare regimen. By taking the time to revitalize your skin now, you’re protecting it from future damage.

Step Five: Get a Custom Airbrush Tan!
The summer will inevitably come to an end, but that doesn’t mean your tan has to! Remember, our Ortanic tans are free of nasty smelling chemicals, and never leave you streaky or orange. So come get an Ortanic custom airbrush tan and keep your summer glow all year long!

Guest blog courtesy of Kat Maj, Ortanic Coordinator. Contact Kat at kmaj@ffc.com.

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FFC TriClub Events

6-best-chicago-triathlon-ironman-training-clubFor perks and insights into finishing your best triathlon yet, join one of FFC’s triathlon training clubs!

TriMonster TriClub

Chicago Triathlon
Join FFC’s TriMonster triathlon training club on Chicago Triathlon race day, Sunday, Aug. 24! RSVP, free for members and non-members, at ffc.com/endurance-rsvp (click continue at the bottom of the first page). Feel free to stop by the team tent at the swim start, and join us at the finish area for VIP perks! For more details, follow us on Facebook. You can also find us at the Chicago Triathlon expo Friday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 23. Contact endurance@ffc.com with questions or for more information.
TriRock Lake Geneva
This popular event provides the perfect ingredients for a memorable autumn race in the small lakeside village of Williams Bay, Wisconsin. TriRock Lake Geneva is the perfect way to end your triathlon season in the Midwest and tends to sell out, so be sure to register today! Enter code FFCTRIROCK for $15 off all types of registration.

IronMonster TriClub

Join Chicago’s most award-winning Ironman TriClub on race days and help win team competitions, prizes and awards. Free for athletes of all levels to enjoy the benefits of a team tent at events, photo opportunities, optional team dinners and more! Local races include Steelhead 70.3 and Ironman Wisconsin. Sign up for the IronMan newsletter, select “IronMonsters” as your TriClub via http://ironman.com/triathlon/subscribe and you will be automatically added to the FFC IronMonster triathlon training club team roster! For more information visit http://ffc.com/ironmonster or contact endurance@ffc.com.

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Swim Lessons

7-swim-lessons-best-chicago-gym-poolFitness Formula Clubs offers private and group classes!

PRIVATE SWIM LESSONS
USA Swimming and USA Triathlon certified coaches are available for one-on-one lessons to help you learn to swim, or improve your speed and endurance. All levels are eligible to participate, from beginner to advanced, including triathlon and Iron-distance trainees. Classes are available at all FFC pool locations. Contact endurance@ffc.com to schedule.

  • 60-minute class: $90 for members, $120 for non-members
  • Three packs and six packs are also available

GROUP SWIM LESSONS
Join FFC’s TriMonster endurance training staff in a group setting if you are just learning to swim or looking to improve your triathlon time. After a complimentary first lesson and optional underwater swim analysis, choose from up to 10 classes per week to fit your schedule! Classes are available at all FFC pool locations.

      • $120 per month
      • $80 per month with TriMonster Unlimited Membership
      • $60 per month for July and August Open Water Lessons only*
        *NEW! Open Water Swim Lessons: 6 pm Monday-Thursday at Ohio Street Beach!

For a complete list of classes and options, visit ffc.com/trimonster or purchase online at http://ffc.com/product-category/endurance-training/.

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FREE Injury Screenings

8-novacare-best-chicago-gym-physical-therapyDo you have an injury that pops up now and again, or a persistent pain that won’t go away? Stop by one of Fitness Formula Clubs’ following locations for a complimentary injury screening, courtesy of NovaCare.

Wednesday, Aug. 6 – Halsted Street: 6-7:30 pm
Tuesday, Aug. 12 – West Loop: 6-7:30 pm
Tuesday, Aug. 12 – Oak Park:  6-8 pm
Wednesday, Aug. 13 – Lincoln Park: 5:30-7 pm
Tuesday, Aug. 26 – East Lakeview: 5:30-7 pm
Thursday, Aug. 28 – Union Station: 11:30 am-1 pm
Thursday, Aug. 28 – South Loop: 5:30-7 pm

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Scuba Certification

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Calling all those who have a thirst for adventure!

Fitness Formula Clubs and Captain Darrick Lorenzen’s Divemax Scuba Schools are organizing and guiding fundamental dive training. Non-members welcome. All individuals considering enrollment must attend a complimentary orientation*. Then complete your basic skills course on Sunday, Aug. 10**.

*Orientation from 6-7:30 pm

  • Halsted Street: Tuesday, Aug. 5

  • Union Station: Wednesday, Aug. 6

  • Lincoln Park: Thursday, Aug. 7

**Basic Skills Course from 7 am – 4 pm

  • Union Station: Sunday, Aug. 10

For more information, or to confirm your attendance at the free orientation, please contact Captain Darrick Lorenzen at 773-732-8972 or captdarrick@divemaxscuba.com. Additional fees apply for open water dives and equipment.

 

 

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Team Trek

1-team-trek-best-chicago-gymAre You Up for a Challenge? Join Team Trek!

Race across America with three fellow members to four separate destinations! Stay motivated this summer with the help of your team and win prizes as you get fit. For six weeks, your team’s exercises will be converted into mileage to move your game piece along our map of the United States. Clubs will display the progress of their teams on a map and prizes will be awarded at each destination reached.

The 6-week program begins Monday, July 21 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 31. Registration is $49 and includes a 2014 Team Trek Shirt. Participants are eligible for 10% off fitness program purchases July 14–27.

Click here to register.

For more information contact your club’s Team Trek administrator:

East Lakeview – Marissa Panzeri (mpanzeri@ffc.com)
Gold Coast – Stephanie Metzler (smetzler@ffc.com)
Halsted Street – Stacy Lane (slane@ffc.com)
Lincoln Park – Cheryl Brown (cbrown@ffc.com)
Oak Park – Mike Radice (mradice@ffc.com)
Old Town – Megan Konor (mkonor@ffc.com)
South Loop – Josh Finfrock (jfinfrock@ffc.com)
Union Station – Keith Marszalik (kmarszalik@ffc.com)
West Loop – Sarah Lund (slund@ffc.com)

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Navy Pier

3-Navy-Pier-best-chicago-yoga-zumba-gymFitness Formula Clubs, aka Chicago Magazine’s Best Chicago Gym, is teaming up with one of Chicago’s most iconic destinations to bring you yoga and Zumba on the Pier! Every weekend from Saturday, July 12 to Sunday, Aug. 31*, get outside and get your fitness on! Classes will be $5 for members, $10 for non-members and parking will be available for $5 with a voucher you’ll get at class.

Saturdays, 8:45 am: Yoga on the North front lawn
Sundays, 8:45 am: Zumba on the back East sundeck

Click here to register!

*Classes will NOT be held on the Air & Water Show weekend – Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17.

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Eating Seasonally, Fueling Locally

2-farmers-market-best-chicago-weight-loss-nutritionWhat if we told you there was something you could eat to fuel your body, improve your skin, aid in weight loss, and lower your risk for several chronic diseases? And that by buying it you’d be supporting your community? Well, it’s true! We’re talking about fruits and vegetables, and this time of year, your local Farmers Markets are chock-full of these nutrient-dense foods that not only offer several health benefits, but also taste fantastic. Buying local food also benefits the environment and the local economy, and promotes safer food supply practices.

What can you find in Chicago’s Farmers Markets in July? Fresh fruits available now include blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries and strawberries. You can also find a wide variety of vegetables, including artichokes, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, green onions, kale, lettuce, okra, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, sprouts, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes and turnips.

Click here to find a Farmers Market near you! Here’s a delicious, healthy recipe you can make with the ingredients you find on your next Farmers Market excursion!

Braised Green Beans & Summer Vegetables
Servings: 6
Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
½ cup white wine, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion and oregano and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Add wine (or broth) and bring to a boil.
4. Add green beans, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
5. Add summer squash (or zucchini) and tomatoes and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Nutritional Fact Per Serving: 92 calories; 4 g fat (1 g saturated 2 g monounsaturated); 2 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 3 g protein; 158 mg sodium; 290 mg potassium

Article written by FFC’s Registered Dietician Carrie Linke, MS, RD, LDN. To contact Carrie email clinke@ffc.com.

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Cool Everyday Deals

4-Best-chicago-spa-massageYour skin has been through a lot. Your emotions have been toiled with. It was a rough winter. And it wasn’t the greatest spring. We think you deserve some high quality spa time to get you ready for what is sure to be a fun (and hopefully sun) filled summer. For the month of July, Fitness Formula Clubs is offering a spa deal every day of the week, valid until 3 pm.

Mondays: $39/30-minute massage or facial
Tuesdays: $69/60-minute massage or facial
Wednesdays: 20% of waxing services
Thursdays: $99/90-minute massage
Fridays: 20% off any single item in the Spa or Sport Shops
Weekends: $109/90-minute Vitality Signature Treatment

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Ortanic

5 ortanic-best-custom-airbrush-spray-tan-chicagoGet A Polished Look For Summer
Let’s face it, after the cold harsh winter, your skin is likely to feel and look a little more like a crocodile’s than a baby’s. That’s where we step in! In July, come to the Spa at FFC for a quick and fantastic Body Polish for just $29 (normally $55). A finely ground coffee scrub invigorates and detoxifies skin, sloughing away dry, dead skin cells to leave you feeling soft and smooth. Having a body polish before an Ortanic Airbrush Tan guarantees a smoother all-over application of the tanning solution, allowing it to set more evenly. Also this month, upgrade your Ortanic Tan to a Deluxe for just $6 (normally $9), which includes pre-and-post-spray balancers that extend the life and beauty of your tan by ridding your skin of oils & dry spots and finally, “sealing” in the tan with a mist. Come over to the spa and we’ll give you just the look you need to put the wow in your summer wardrobe!

Visit the website for more information, or book your appointment now. May not be combined with other offers and may not be applied to membership.

*Restrictions may apply.

Tan Custom. Tan Smart. Ortanic.

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FREE NovaCare Injury Screenings

6-novacare-best-chicago-gym-physical-therapyDo you have an injury that pops up now and again, or a persistent pain that won’t go away? Stop by one of Fitness Formula Clubs’ following locations for a complimentary injury screening, courtesy of NovaCare.

All locations’ screenings will be 5:30-7:30 pm, except Union Station:
Wednesday, July 2: Halsted Street
Tuesday, July 8: West Loop
Wednesday, July 9: Lincoln Park
Tuesday, July 22: East Lakeview
Wednesday, July 23: Union Station (11:30 am-1:30 pm)
Wednesday, July 23: South Loop

NovaCare physical therapists are running specialists!

Training for your first 5k, 10k, half, or even full marathon? Don’t fret—NovaCare is here to get you to the finish line injury-free!

Runners in the Chicago community have trusted our therapists to address their injuries and equip them with the tools they need to achieve their goals. With you in mind, here are a few tips to prevent those injuries and keep you running strong!

1) Rolling toys! Every runner should invest in a foam roll. It will become your best friend, or close to it! Foam rolling is a great way to achieve an improved range of motion and to decrease pain. It’s what we in the therapy world call “soft tissue mobilization.” How does it work? The connective tissue encompassing our muscles is called fascia . When fascia becomes restricted, it needs is a little TLC to help keep muscles nice and loose, alleviating pain, or preventing certain musculoskeletal injuries such as ITB Syndrome and Runner’s knee. The most common running injury is knee pain, and with proper use of a foam roll, a good massage helps loosen the otherwise tight connective tissue. We even recommend using a foam roll after a run. Foam rolling, combined with drinking plenty of water, will help release lactic acid, which builds up in your muscles after a run and causes soreness. Foam rolls are available for purchase at any of our NovaCare locations! Visit www.novacare.com/markets/chicagoland.aspx to find the location closest to you!

2) Stretching! When do you stretch? Before a run, afterward or both? Not all stretches are created equal! We recommend you perform dynamic/active stretches before running, followed by static or dynamic stretching after your runs. Proper stretching is designed to loosen, activate, and mobilize your muscles, fascia, nerves, blood vessels, and lymph vessels, and all must be mobile for optimal performance! Think of it this way: we are three-dimensional creatures, so our tissues need to move and stretch in multiple directions. Stretching at different angles helps mobilize the entire muscle. Before you perform an activity, you need to alert your muscles to the task at hand. Doing active/dynamic stretching sets off the brain’s “task reminder.” Last but not least, never stretch into pain; listen to your body! Check out the stretches here: www.facebook.com/NovaCareChicago/photos_albums!

3) Strengthening! This is probably the most important tip. Remember, our bodies are three-dimensional, moving in multiple planes of movements. That’s why it’s important to strengthen all the muscles in your body. Specifically, we recommend balance, lateral gluteal work and core exercises. If you have a strong foundation and strong ankles, you reduce your risk of injury! Check out the recommended strengthening exercises here: www.facebook.com/NovaCareChicago/photos_albums!

4) Form Meets Function! Why do some people who use the foam roll and perform their core exercises still get injured? This is often the product of poor running form and running mechanics. Why not sign up for a Video Gait Analysis (VGA) at our FFC Union Station location, 444 W. Jackson Blvd., and find out how you could be a more efficient and injury-free runner? Call 312-407-0143 for more information on scheduling and costs.

5) Ice, Ice, baby. If something feels sore after a run, put some ice on it! Get a bag of frozen peas or put ice cubes in a Ziplock bag with some water and apply to the sore muscle or joint. Keep it there for 15 – 20 minutes. However, if pain or soreness persists, give us a call and we can help you out! Our injury hotline is here to provide you with answers and the recommended health care you need! Call 866-TRY-NOVA.

NovaCare is happy to provide the highest quality of care. Should you sustain an injury, trust NovaCare’s licensed physical therapists to offer unmatched compassion and expertise to help you return to running pain-free, and be ready to take on your next race with confidence!

Guest blog by Jason Garner, NovaCare Physical Therapist at FFC Union Station
NovaCare Rehabilitation

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New Pilates Space, Equipment, Instructor and Class!

7-East-Lakeview-best-chicago-pilates-studioFFC East Lakeview recently upgraded its Pilates studio from 250 to 450 square feet. Ten new pieces of equipment have been added to increase availability and programming. Welcome new instructor Justin Kam! Starting July 12, Justin will be adding a new class to the group apparatus schedule, Pilates Force Fusion, Saturdays at 1 pm. Contact Justin Kam at jkam@ffc.com for more info or to sign up!
There will also be a party to welcome Justin and celebrate the new space this month. Stay tuned for details!